Tribal casino to reopen early despite Inslee’s phased plan

SEATTLE – As businesses across the state are anxiously waiting for their turn to re-open, you will soon begin to see others opening well ahead of Governor Jay Inslee’s phased plan to reopen the economy.

That includes the Angel of the Winds Casino Resort in the North Sound. The casino is owned by the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians. Management insists safety for workers and customers is their number one priority.

When the casino shut down, hundreds of people were furloughed and the shutdown also likely delt a major blow to how it funds their community.

“We have to get back to normal,” said general manager Travis O’Neil.

The tribe plans to mimic safety precautions already seen at grocery stores and other businesses.

When the facility reopens it will also likely be the first casino in Washington to ban smoking.

“At some point we have to get back to work,” said O’Neil.

While unessential business across our state are waiting their turn to come back online, tribal governments aren’t subject to Inslee’s orders.

O’Neil says he’s been working with health officials to get people back to work safely.

“Next week we’re looking to reopening the casino,” he said.

“When we reopen, we’re not going to reopen at full capacity,” said Puyallup Tribe chairman David Bean in a community message shared last week.

The Puyallup Tribe of Indian’s new Emerald Queen Casino along I-5 in Tacoma was supposed to be open already. Last week tribal leaders said some services to their community could be impacted since casinos were shut down and revenue stopped flowing, but vowed safety will also be top priority when it

“We are sovereign nations,” said Bean. “we’ve been working in partnerships with governments to deal with this outbreak.”

When Angel of the Winds re-opens, management says face masks will be required for all customers and staff, sanitizing stations will be all over the casino floor and games will also be farther spaced apart.

Inslee's communications office told Q13 News the Governor heard from the Stillaguamish Tribe at the end of April about its plan to re-open by May 4.

Officials said Inslee listened to the chairman and acknowledged the Tribe's sovereignty but encouraged a reopening should be considered collaboratively.

The Governor’s office said the Tribe then informed Inslee of their plan to reopen the casino on May 11.